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Doan-Ha, A.

I Believe...

posted Jun 13, 2010, 9:35 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha

Do you find the characters convincing? Are they believable? Compelling? Are they fully developed as complex, emotional human beings?

    I believe that all the characters are believable. They have the character traits of a real human being. Comparing Mao with people like us, you see that people want to conquer something. Like we want to own land, a car, or maybe even a company. Or in some TV shows, take over the world. Just like them, Mao wants to take over China and make it his own. He wants it to be a communist country.

If you see the character traits of Madame Mao, you'll see that they illustrate real character traits. Just like a real live people, she too shares her own problems. She has boy issues. Whether should she stay with this man, or should she just move on. Or maybe the family issues. Her mother wanted Madame Mao to have the foot binding, but not everyone wants to listen to their parents commands all the time. So she rebels and escapes her mothers grasp over her.

    Tang Nah, the suicidal man, does portray the characteristics of a really sensitive man. You might not see this much, but some men cry. And in this case, Tang Nah is crying over Madame Mao. So he tries to suicide. Just like how someone's relationship gets broken, they think the world is over for them and they probably post stuff on Aim or Myspace saying, "Oh life sucks so much, I wish I can die right now."

    All in all, the stories behind the characters help illustrate the characters personalities and making them realistic. Also, the language in the book helps as well.

Anchee Min, Why Write This Book?

posted Jun 13, 2010, 7:10 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha

Why did the author(s) choose to write this book?

    I think the author chose to write this book for many reasons. Lets start off with the obvious answers as to why she wanted to write this book. Because she loves writing, and writing books and if the books are good will make you lots of money. A second reason on why she would want to write a book like this is because she probably wanted to write about Chinese history. After all, this is a historical fiction right? She wanted to highlight important events in Chinese history after the last Dynasty fell. For example, the great leap forward (more like great leap backwards), the cultural revolution, etc. Not only did she want to highlight the history of China, but to also point out the important figures in China's history. Like Mao Zedong, he was a really important man in Chinese history. He lead the Communist party, fighting for what he thought was right and winning. He was claimed as one of the most powerful leaders in Chinese history.  Or Madame Mao, the woman who loves acting, but who killed millions of people, and she committed suicide.  The last thing that I thought of on why she wrote this book is because she was really bored and had nothing else to do with her spare time haha.

    Basically, I find this book to be a background book for China. Portraying all the important parts of China's history and giving us a taste of how the characters felt and what role they played in China.

Who do you like ?

posted Jun 13, 2010, 6:49 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha

Which characters do you admire or dislike? What are their primary characteristics?

    The characters that I admire is Madame Mao herself. Sometimes she might have a low beat attitude where she is depressed, but that's okay, everyone has those problems. Shes the type of person that tries her hardest to get what she wants. She will basically do anything to get to that thing. She wanted to help Mao Zedong in running the country; however, Mao doesn't allow her.  But that doesn't stop her, she just keeps trying, and eventually, she gets it. That kinds to go to my favorite favorite line, "Quitters can't be choosers."

    A person that I don't like that much is Madame Mao's second husband, Tang Nah.  I don't really like his attitude. He's such a cheater! C'mon, you want a girl so much, yet you're going around fishing for others. Furthermore, he tries to commit suicide. Which is unsuccessful twice. I don't believe that he was actually going to suicide. He was more like attracting attention. He's an attention wh**e.

    Another character that I don't really like is Mao. He's slightly like Tang Nah, but I guess you can say he's a little better. He does kind of cheat. He goes to other ladies talking to them. I also want to quote, "Mao likes to sleep with virgins" -Kang Sheng. What a punk. Guys these days. Man I don't I don't sound like a girl though haha. I also don't like communists. Just the way their systems work. I like a capitalist system better. Go Deng Xiaoping !

The Future

posted May 16, 2010, 10:03 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha   [ updated May 16, 2010, 11:11 PM ]

Despite his lack of formal education, Ram is able to answer twelve questions correctly in order to win a billion rupees. What do you envision the future holds for Ram?

    Well I don't suspect Ram to do much in his future. Just looking through the events in his life, he wont do much. He does say that he wants to travel and he probably will. But he's only 18, he does not have many friends, what can he do in life? Okay, he has 1 billion rupees... He's probably thinking to himself, "what do I do with all this money?!" But, I do see some alternatives, he does have his girlfriend Nita, who which will probably want to spend that money as well. Gudiya and Lajwanti will probably want some stuff too. For example, Nita might want some clothes, jewlery, and what not. Gudiya actually might not ask for much. Because she is a lawyer and lawyers = $$$ in my opinion. Lajwanti, I think she will want a large sum of money. She still needs four lahk rupees for her younger sisters wedding.

    Furthermore,  Ram will probably quit his job and better his life. Get the car that he always wanted, get a better house, a better everything. Afterwards, he's going to be sitting on his couch, being interviewed on how he won a billion rupees and saying, "I got a nice girl, I'm reunited with my old friends, got a nice house, car. What else can I ask for?"

    If I had this money, I would go crazy. Not a bad crazy, but a crazy like, "how the heck did I win this money!?!" I wish I was Ram D;


Easier Said Than Done

posted May 16, 2010, 9:26 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha   [ updated May 16, 2010, 10:03 PM ]

Considering Ram believes he's already murdered two people, why is he unable to kill Prem Kumar?

    Haha that is a good question that I might not know myself. But I got a few theories in mind.

    Ram supposedly murdered two people; however, this was when he was younger. Everyone, including myself, make dumb choices when we were little. You don't think before you act, which leads you to getting into some trouble. At this time, he's eighteen. He should be able to make better decisions. Although he wanted to seek revenge, he can't do it. He quotes "in films they show you that killing a man is as easy as popping a balloon... but real life is different. It is easy to pick up a loaded gun and point it in someone's face... You are forced to think twice. It is not easy to kill a man"(308). You can't just go around shooting people. It isn't easy, you have to think before you act.


Violence is the Answer?

posted May 10, 2010, 7:19 AM by Anthony Doan-Ha   [ updated May 10, 2010, 7:47 AM ]

What do you think of Salim's decision to give Ahmed, the hit man, a picture of Maman? Did Salim have another choice? Is he guilty of murder? did Ram have other options besides throwing Shantaram down the stairs? Are these violent acts justifiable considering the behavior of the victims?

    I think Salim's choice to give Ahmed the picture of Maman was a good idea! Not only good, but also clever. To stop violence you got to use violence. This may not sound great, but it does happen to fit in this story. I believe that Salim had other choices instead of having Ahmed killing Maman. He could've just went to some random persons house wrote the adress down and let that man die; however, this would probably leave him in guilt. Another possibility is he could've just called the police to stop Ahmed. Then again, Salim would probably feel guilt if he called the police on Ahmed. Other cases though, killing Maman is like getting an A+ in a project.

    Furthermore, I also believe that Ram had other options instead of tackling Shantaram off the building. First of all, he could've not but into other peoples business. The ending results could've been that Ram wouldn't have thrown Shantaram off the building.  A secoond possibility would be to cool down. I mean, what makes people angry is the things around them and how they affect them. But isn't cooling down the same thing? You have other people to talk to you so that you can cool down.

    The choices these characters make to murder is their thinking. Their thinking drove them to a world of hatred and that's what gave them the encouragement to kill. The ending results, killing the people they mostly hate. Maman the child abuser, Shanataram the drunk scientist, and the dacoit on the train.

$1 Billion = ???

posted Apr 27, 2010, 8:17 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha

What are Ram's ambitions in life? Why does he tell Prem Kumar he doesn't know how he's going to spend the billion rupees?
    I believe Ram's ambitions in life is to find or at least see her mother. He dreams of this lady in a white sari and what not. That's representing her mom! What else could it represent? He doesn't love another girl (as to what I've read so far). Another ambition in Ram's life could be just to live life. He doesn't want to go to school and just works to live. Also, he also isn't very hungry for knowledge. He'll just take life as it is as it goes. I think he also wants to travel to other places other than India. As he read those magazines "Australia Geographic" he drempt about going to exotic places.
He tells Prem Kumar that he doesn't know what to spend the billion rupees on because he has never actually thought of having a billion before. Look at his life, it's terrible. He lives in labor everyday and he still lives in a chawl. You work as a bartender and a servant  and you still live in a chawl! How do you expect to earn a billion rupees? He probably thinks that even worth my than his life. He can also just be shy... Ha, or he's just focused on winning. His mind is probably like "Gotta win, gotta win, gotta win!!!"

Why Ram Mohammad Thomas?

posted Apr 27, 2010, 8:03 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha   [ updated Apr 27, 2010, 8:39 PM ]

Why does Vikas Swarup choose the name "Ram Mohammad Thomas" for his protaginist?
 Although he has three different types of religious names, it shows that he's a special type of person.  A boy with many beliefs. A boy who doesn't really know his parents, in matter of fact, doesn't even know himself. Furthermore, this is the foundation of the protaginist's characteristics. Since he has all these names, he is probably confused about his life, the outside world.
    Having this type of character win a billion rupees (Approximately 2,272,272 US Dollars) just makes reality unbelievable. I mean come on, you got this boy who hasn't been to school win a billion rupees... It sounds make believe, like someone made this up.
    Another idea is to show the knowledge India has. Maybe to show that Indian people aren't on the bottom of the food chain. I don't know, I'm just throwing all the ideas that come up to mind.
 Well I have a few thought in mind when I hear the name "Mohammad." When I hear Mohammad, I think of Muslims. The name Thomas sounds familiar because it's a Chirstian. I never heard of Ram before but it's Hindu I believe. I believe that the author chose to give him these names because in India, the main religions in India are Muslim and Hinduism. This basically gives the main character his backround. This also shows India's backround. You don't see and Bhuddism around, so it's unlikely to find a person who believes in Bhudda walking around India. For example, maybe Chinese, however, who said chinese people don't live in India. I don't know to tell you the truth.

Bye Bye Maria

posted Apr 12, 2010, 6:17 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha

How do you feel when Maria Isabel leaves Honduras?

    I don't feel like this is a good idea. Reason being is because of what Enrique has gone through. It's such a dangerous risk leaving a child behind. The effects could be critical. For one thing, the child of Enrique [Jasmine] will probably want to go to the US. Therefore, she will have to go through the smuggling process which will be really risky. Some smugglers can't be trusted, so it makes it difficult to decide on whether or not on which smuggler to choose. All the bad smugglers are cheap and all the good smugglers are expensive, which is another element of this risky situation.
    On the other hand you got a mental situation where the child does not receive any love from any of his or her parents. Which makes the kids feel resentment towards their parents. One in ten kids actually forgive their parents after leaving them in loneliness and despair. Making a 10% chance of actually still having a true relationship with their mothers. But hey, 10% is not much. Enrique's mother [Lourdes] is lucky enough to still have Enrique. Maria is not making a right decision in leaving her daughter.

    If I were to put myself into Maria's shoes, I would take in into the peer pressure that Enrique put her to. I would stay until Jasmine would be ready to be "legally" transported to the US. I know it may sound pretty long but putting your child's life in danger or just leaving him/her there to boil to the point where they might just explode is just not right.

Statue Of Jesus Christ

posted Mar 21, 2010, 9:40 PM by Anthony Doan-Ha   [ updated Apr 12, 2010, 9:53 PM ]

What is the significance of the statue of Jesus Enrique encounters?


    A lot of the migrants look up the lord Jesus Christ. A lot of migrants also say that Jesus has been helping them to get through Central America. They say that Jesus helps them from getting bandits, who rob and beat them, Police, who shake them down, and la migra, the Mexican immigration authorities, who deport them.. Some of the migrants bring bibles with them. To me, that's like having Jesus always right next to them.

    As For Enrique, he does not turn to God for help. He would ask for God for help, but he committed to many sins to ask for God's help. Which I don't think that's right. God is always there to help, through thick and thin. I believe the statue is there because it reminds everyone that god is always with you.

    I myself is Catholic. So I too know how it feels to worship God.


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